Washington and Colorado, go ahead and build your marijuana industries, says the Department of Justice. But there’s a red line, or several red lines, that if crossed will bring a heavy federal response. The states will have to work hard to stay on the right side.
That was Thursday’s bombshell. Just as we finished printing Thursday’s edition with my column urging the Justice Department to make its position on legalized marijuana clear, Attorney General Eric Holder was on the phone with Gov. Jay Inslee, making the position clear. The federal government will not interfere with Washington’s efforts to implement Initiative 502 and build a controlled system for the legal production and sale of small amounts of marijuana. It will not interfere with Colorado’s similar effort. That is, it will not if strict guidelines are met and state efforts in no way infringe on federal priorities.